Release: Government must get serious quick on climate change

He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission has today released advice that says if the Government doesn’t act now New Zealand is at risk of not meeting its climate goals. 

“I am deeply concerned that climate change is not a priority for this Government,” Labour Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods said.

“National has consistently said they’ll rely on the Emissions Trading Scheme as their tool to reduce emissions, but this advice shows they haven’t done anything to ensure it’s up to scratch. 

“We set up the Climate Commission to hold successive Governments accountable and it has sent a strong signal to this new Government that they need to get their skates on.

“They must move quickly to ensure the ETS is aligned with our emissions budgets and international obligations.

“The alternative is we fail, after six years of focus and hard work resulting in an actual reduction of emissions over the past three years.

“National has stopped work on the ETS review and is cancelling programmes that would make a real and tangible difference to reduce emissions.

“In the advice released today, the Climate Change Commission has said that leaving the ETS alone will not bring stability to the market, signalling that uncertainty around the Government’s priorities is affecting market and investor confidence in the scheme. This flies in the face of National’s claim that the review was causing price fluctuations.

“The advice also foreshadows lower than expected ETS auction revenue, which is a problem for the Government if the intention is to use the money from auction proceeds for tax cuts.

“Emissions pricing is an important tool, but true decarbonisation can only be achieved through measures like improving public transport, incentivising EV uptake, increasing energy efficiency, and supporting clean-tech industries, such as the projects that were funded through GIDI – Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry fund.

“So far all National has done is cancel programmes that would make a difference. It begs the question as to whether they are more concerned with paying for their tax cuts or doing the right thing.

“Climate change is real, whether National like it or not. If they don’t get serious quick about reducing emissions, New Zealand will go backwards – and that will hurt our trade, farmers, industry and people,” Megan Woods said. 

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